8 Dec, 19km, overcast
We decided to walk the old TA route to Browning Hut. The Pelorus River Track in the south of the Bryant Range.
I left camp at 6:30 with Marty but walked on my own all day. Marty arrived at Roebuck Hut in good time, I’m a lot slower walker so Marty headed off to Browning Hut. I decided to walk on to from Roebuck Hut leaving at 1:00 although the thought was strong to stay at there the night.
We decided to walk the old TA route based on information given by another TA walker with local knowledge. It was meant to save climbing to Rocks Hut but was longer and less maintained.
Not a good decision on my part. Debris was scattered across the sidlings making it difficult to find a foot placement. The track was mainly sidlings following the Pelorus River, mostly narrow ledges. I fell often and knew it will take me forever to jump over windfall sticks, fallen tree trunks, skip across crumbly sidlings and clamber up slips and so on.
I knew I would be lucky to get to Browning Hut by dark, I needed water and the next chance for water was way up ahead. The pace was very slow and careful. The track was stepped out on slippery mulch and really rumpty. It was 3:00 when I reached the water source and at that stage I had no water, I’d conserved what I had up till then. At 5:00 I found a place to camp that looked like a large clearing used by groups, however I decided because the hut was 2km away I could make it before the twilight faded.
I arrived into Browning Hut at 7:45 with Marty’s applauds. My pants were covered in mud, I was bruised from many graceful slides, falls and crashed, feeling dispirited for such a long slow day. I had three ten minute stops and had to consider my style and pace. There were few options given the terrain and track conditions.
There were five other section walkers in a group who had arrived at Browning Hut a couple of hours before me. They had walked the official route up to Rocks Hut. I then had a wash in the stream cooked a real quick dinner before they were all tucked in at 8:30. All too rushed and no down time for me and exhausted I sat outside a while but had to rustle around with my sleeping bag so went to bed and crashed in the packed hut.
Not a good day, it was a hard long day searching for foot placements and slipping often. I was very slow, most of the day due to careful foot placement on slippery exposed tree roots.
The last 1km was easier and faster but included mud and slippery tracks where little creeks flowed downhill in the track, it was a mud slide.
The stream bath at the end of the day was soothing and a small comfort before being sandwiched into the hut for the night.